Ever been caught in a car accident but survived it with no major cuts or scratches? Well, you may think that all your worries should be gone, but not so fast. Although you may not get open or severe wounds, you should not overlook the possibilities of sustaining a whiplash. This is a common injury suffered by drivers — and its passengers — when involved in a car accident.
A whiplash injury can be unbearably painful, and depending on the severity, it may require a recovery period of half a year (or longer). In addition, what’s worrisome about this injury is that the people involved do not show or feel any symptom after the accident happened. This is why a backache after an accident is no brainer.
What is a Whiplash Injury?
According to Mayo Clinic, whiplash is an injury in the soft-tissues that mainly occurs when a person’s head moves forward or backwards in a swift and violent motion. This sudden movement is more likely to damage the tendons and the tissues surrounding the neck and spine.
Symptoms You Should be Mindful Of
The symptoms of a whiplash injury can take a number of days or weeks to be noticeable. In the course of a car crash, the body’s initial reaction is to pump adrenaline into the blood, acting as a defense mechanism to protect our bodies against the inevitable shock and pain. The effects of adrenaline do not wear off instantly, thus, making an initial prognosis difficult to determine what injuries have occurred.
If you have had an accident recently and feel that you’re experiencing the symptoms of whiplash, it is crucial to go and see your doctor in Salt Lake City immediately for check-up and treatment. The common symptoms to take note of are fatigue, dizziness, neck pain, headache, numbness in the limbs, ringing in the ears (or what is commonly known as tinnitus), blurred vision, and changes in sleeping patterns.
Oftentimes, people suffering a whiplash injury recover within a couple of months. However, others may continue to experience chronic pain for longer periods, such as a number of months or even years. It’s difficult to try to predict the healing time of this injury. But do note that chronic pain is highly likely for individuals who observe initial symptoms such as quickly progressing neck pain, radiating sensation or severe pain in the arm, and recurrent headaches.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury. Typically, doctors instruct people to treat their injury with over-the-counter painkillers, cold compress, and a lot of rest. However, those with very serious injuries may be prescribed with muscle relaxers and special pain medication, as well as physical therapy to aid in recovery.
Whiplash injuries are growing alarmingly common. While strains and sprains are the most prevalently reported injuries sustained for road accidents in the U.S., recent reports of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that over 65% of physical injury claims filed to car insurance companies included injuries to the neck or a passenger or driver. Thus, it’s important to be wary and observant of every symptom you experience, and see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.